Johann Sebastian Bach - Sleepers Awake
ALLEGRI Miserere
Modeste Mussorgsky Boris Godunov (hosted by Sue Elliott: part 1)
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov Overture on Russian Themes
Andrew York Sunburst

11 Don't-Miss Summer Concerts in Western Washington

by Melinda Bargreen

The month of July means music-festival time in the Northwest, where enticing combinations of artists, repertoire, and locations all are good news for classical music lovers.
Right at home in Seattle, the big news is always the Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Summer Festival, in residence now through August 2 at the Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall. Judging from the opening concert on July 7, the festival promises to be better than ever this season, with artistic director/violinist James Ehnes and a crew of first-rate performers.

Derek Bermel and Augustin HadelichThe opening program, featuring the brilliant young violinist Augustin Hadelich in the brand-new David Lang solo “Mystery Sonatas” and the Saint-Saëns “Fantaisie in A Minor” (with harpist Valerie Muzzolini Gordon), has launched the festival in splendid style. Straight off some rapturous reviews in New York (where the Lang pieces were premiered recently in their entirety), Hadelich is one of those names that can make a program a must-hear event. He’s back in action all this week and also plays on July 14 (second violin in the great Shostakovich Piano Quintet). That same evening offers the world premiere of Derek Bermel’s Piano Trio, courtesy of the SCMS Commissioning Club – these performances are always an exciting unveiling of music never before heard.

Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale” on July 11 is another likely standout, with Ehnes as first fiddle in the ensemble (he and Amy Schwartz Moretti will play Bartók duos in the pre-concert recital). In coming weeks, fiddle fans also will get to hear the excellent Stefan Jackiw in trios of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.

But there’s considerably more happening outside the city, as well. On July 10, the Bellingham Festival of Music offers a concert version of Mozart’s delightful opera “The Lisette OropesaAbduction from the Seraglio,” with Whitney Reader conducting and a cast including Lisette Oropesa, Simeon Esper, Wesley Rogers, Gustav Andreassen and Joanna Mongiardo. Mendelssohn’s buoyant Octet will be featured on July 13, and the great pianist Richard Goode is the soloist in the July 16 concert (playing Mozart’s K.503 with conductor Michael Palmer). Well worth a trip up north!

Just a short ferry trip away, the Olympic Music Festival is already underway under the direction of Alan Iglitzin at their woodsy venue near Quilcene, with Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet on the menu (July 12 and 13), and three great Beethoven string quartets the following weekend (July 19-20). (Further Beethoven evenings, along with Mozart and other favorites, are scheduled through September 7.)
Pablo Ziegler Tango Quartet
The acclaimed Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival kicks off – literally – with a tango program (“Nuevo Tango,” with Pablo Ziegler and his Classic Tango Quartet) August 8-9, followed by concerts of wide-ranging repertoire through August 23. Director Aloysia Friedmann notes that a particular hit is likely to be a piano program, “The Three Parkers,” featuring not only her acclaimed husband Jon Kimura (“Jackie”) Parker but also his brother James and cousin Ian Parker. Will all six hands fit onto one keyboard at the same time? Music lovers will beeline to the San Juans to find out.

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